Wednesday, December 7, 2016
National Solo Class EOS 16 Preview
This Saturday is, suitably, the National Solo Class End Of Season Championship and with a healthy breeze forecast from the south west and an unseasonably 11 degrees, it is shaping up to be a great event.
We finally get to go to Oxford Sailing Club to round off 2016 following the postponement from late October due to the very accurate prediction of 1-3mph, less than the 5mph minimum, 30mph maximum windspeed window.
While there has been some adverse comments on the Y+Y forum regarding some classes decision to postpone events based on weather predictors such as Windguru and XC Weather, the NSCA members have been saved from making fruitless journeys no less than 3 times in 2016.
Firstly we postponed the Noble Marine Winters’ and this was vindicated as 37mph gusts swept through Chew Valley in February. The re-scheduled event was held successfully a few weeks later. There were equally high winds forecast for the Inaugural Vintage Championship and once again the predictions were realised at Draycote Water in August. Finally, with very little wind anticipated at Oxford S.C. we took a chance and postponed the event to this Saturday.
This event also forms part of the NORTH SAILS SUPER SERIES and a chance for those that qualify to win a new North laminate P2 or F2 mainsail. There is also a war chest of other fabulous prizes from C2 Marine, Rooster and Harken.
No wonder then that there are currently 30 sailors who have already qualified, and with every event after the first 4 equating to an extra ticket in the draw, some will have up to 5 tickets in the hat. There are another 25 helms who need this event as a counter so another big fleet is expected.
Last years event produced 38 qualifiers and the 10 event series averaged exactly 50 Solos per event. To put the popularity of the class in some perspective, if we counted all entrants (as another well publicised single handed class does) there would be 235 qualifiers this year.
We are indeed fortunate to have such a strong membership base across the UK and forward planning of events, fast communication via websites, social media and proactive decisions based on modern weather prediction ensure that competitors do not waste their much treasured free time and fuel money. I hope that I have not shot myself in the foot!
To the racing and Andy Davis has defended his title from 2016 and will look to close the season in fine style. Mike Sims is second from Pete Mitchell who, having left North Sails to go back to Uni may make a surprise return in the works Winder. Ian Hopwood has had a great season and so to, Steve Denison. Chris Brown sits in sixth and is also in a new ship so will be in protection mode at the marks! We are hoping the Scots make the journey down and especially Patrick Burns, winner of Solo 6000.
I will be competing and taking photos and video so look out for the report next week.
Huge thanks to Charlie Cumbley and to North Sails for continued sponsorship in 2017 of the NORTH SAILS SUPER SERIES. Will Loy President NSCA